Media Tries To Eliminate Woman From Her Own Murder Story

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE HUFFINGTON POST)

 

The mother of Tamara O'Neal holds a picture of her family, Nov. 20. O'Neal was fatally shot by her former fiance in Chicago t

CHICAGO TRIBUNE VIA GETTY IMAGES
The mother of Tamara O’Neal holds a picture of her family, Nov. 20. O’Neal was fatally shot by her former fiance in Chicago the day before.

Dr. Tamara O’Neal had just finished up her emergency room shift at Mercy Hospital in Chicago on Nov. 19 when Juan Lopez, her ex-fiance, materialized in the parking lot. He knew where to find her. Earlier in the day, he rang the hospital trying to get her on the phone. She told the clerk who took the call to tell him she was busy.

As recently as September, O’Neal, 38, had planned to marry Lopez. But something caused her to change her mind, and a few weeks before the wedding, she broke off the engagement. On Monday the sight of him scared her enough to dial 911.

In the parking lot, he claimed to want his engagement ring back, but that was an excuse, another attempt to control her. He revealed his true intentions when he pulled out his gun and shot her six times. Afterward, he ran into the hospital and kept shooting, killing Dayna Less, a 24-year-old pharmacy resident, and Samuel Jimenez, 28, a rookie officer with the Chicago Police Department, before being killed by officer gunfire.

In the immediate aftermath of the shooting, when the facts were still being sorted, the media latched onto the policeman who was killed in the line of duty. His death ― understood as the most newsworthy component of the incident ― became the story. Headlines, captions and mobile alerts (including HuffPost’s), focused on him. In The New York Times, for example, O’Neal was not named until the fifth paragraph, as one of the “other victims,” and her relationship to the shooter wasn’t explained until later in the story.

Somehow, a mass shooting rooted in gendered violence was framed as a random act. Even Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel in a news conference said the mass shooting was “the consequence of evil.”

But the shooting was not random at all. It was the consequence of domestic violence. And by relegating O’Neal to a supporting part in the story, the media fundamentally misrepresented the nature of the attack. The massacre was a result of her ex-partner’s final attempt to control her.

“We are not connecting the dots correctly,” said Monica McLaughlin, the director of public policy at the National Network to End Domestic Violence.

The erasure of O’Neal from the narrative obscures the motivation behind the attack, McLaughlin added, making it harder for the public to recognize the undercurrent of toxic masculinity in American gun violence.

Tamara O'Neal in September 2017. Although her killing was the consequence of domestic violence, many news outlets at fir

MONTE GERLACH PHOTOGRAPHY VIA AP
Tamara O’Neal in September 2017. Although her killing was the consequence of domestic violence, many news outlets at first minimized her in their reports about a mass shooting.

“Violence against women is a common denominator in many, many, many of these shootings,” she said.

As HuffPost has reported, most mass shootings in the U.S. involve a man targeting his intimate partner or another family member. And among mass shooters who target the public in random acts of violence, many have histories of abusive behavior toward women. (See: Pulse, ParklandSutherland Springs.)

David Adams, a domestic violence expert who has studied men who kill their partners, said many homicidal abusers feel a sense of ownership over their wife or girlfriend.

“They blame their partners for their own problems and, in general, see themselves as victims of unappreciative, selfish partners,” he said. Men who kill their partners as part of a mass shooting may simply want a larger audience to advertise their grievances, he added.

Like many mass shooters before him, Lopez had a history of abusive behavior toward women. He was fired from the Chicago Fire Academy in 2014 after he was accused of inappropriate conduct with female cadets. The same year, his then-wife filed an emergency protective order against him. “I fear that my safety is in jeopardy,” she wrote, stating that he was acting erratically with his firearm and had threatened to go to her job and cause a scene.

Four years later, he followed through on his threat to cause a scene at a workplace, only this time it was to confront O’Neal. “He couldn’t let it go,” her father, Tom O’Neal, told the Chicago Sun-Times. “He couldn’t let go and he took her away from us.”

Ruth Glenn, the executive director of the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence, said she understood the gut instinct among media outlets to emphasize the police officer’s death. Unfortunately, when it comes to gun violence, there is a hierarchy of newsworthiness. A police officer killed in the line of duty makes headlines far more often than a woman slain by her intimate partner. Especially, Glenn said, if she is a woman of color.

“[Police officers] put their lives on the line every day,” she said. “But if you think about it, so does a victim when she has decided that she needs to be away from the violence.”

A mass shooting rooted in gendered violence was framed as a random act.

Women are at the highest risk of being killed when they leave their partners, said Maureen Curtis, the vice president of criminal justice programs for the nonprofit group Safe Horizon. For many women, their workplaces can become a place of heightened danger, as their partners know when and where they work.

In 2017, Karen Elaine Smith was teaching an elementary class in San Bernardino, California, when her husband, whom she had recently left, walked in with a handgun and began shooting, killing her and an 8-year-old student.

“This is one reason why we need to recognize that domestic violence is not just a personal matter and that helping and supporting a victim not only can save her life but the lives of others,” Curtis said.

Erasing domestic violence from the story also does a disservice to the police officer slain, said Mark Wynn, a retired Tennessee officer who now travels the country training police on issues related to violence against women.

Calls related to domestic disputes are the most dangerous for police, he said. In a strange coincidence, Wynn was just a few miles from Mercy Hospital, training Chicago police officers how to respond to domestic violence incidents, with a focus on officer safety, when the shooting happened.

“Every cop knows the deadly line of ‘If I can’t have you, nobody will,’” he said. “Abusers do not like to be held accountable for their crimes.”

This story has been updated to include Dr. Tamara O’Neal’s occupation.

Trump Lavishes Praise On Rob Porter Of Domestic Violence Fame

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE WASHINGTON POST)

(THIS ARTICLE WAS FIRST PUBLISHED ON FEBRUARY 9th OF 2018)

(I DECIDED TO REPOST THIS ARTICLE TO HELP SHOW PEOPLE THE TRUE SEXUAL ABUSER THAT DONALD TRUMP IS. TO HIM ALL ANY MAN HAS TO SAY IS ‘I DIDN’T DO IT’ AND THIS MEANS THAT ‘HE DIDN’T DO IT’. THIS IS THE SAME PATTERN HE HAS CHOSEN WHEN OVER TWO DOZEN WOMEN HAVE ACCUSED HIM OF SEXUAL ABUSE.  TRULY, EVERY TIME MR. TRUMP OPENS HIS MOUTH OR TWEETS HE SHOWS HIS HORNS AND DEVILS TONGUE.)

Trump lavishes praise on Rob Porter, former top aide accused of domestic violence

 February 9 at 2:29 PM 
 1:11
Trump on former White House aide: ‘He says he’s innocent’

President Trump wished former White House aide Rob Porter “a wonderful career” on Feb. 9, saying Porter “says he’s innocent.”

President Trump on Friday afternoon lavished praise on one of his former top aides, Rob Porter, who resigned earlier this week amid accusations that he physically, verbally and emotionally abused his two ex-wives.

“We wish him well; he worked very hard,” Trump said to a small group of reporters at the White House, providing his first public comments on the topic. “We found out about it recently, and I was surprised by it, but we certainly wish him well, and it’s a tough time for him. He did a very good job when he was in the White House, and we hope he has a wonderful career, and he will have a great career ahead of him. But it was very sad when we heard about it, and certainly he’s also very sad now. He also, as you probably know, says he’s innocent, and I think you have to remember that. He said very strongly yesterday that he’s innocent, so you have to talk to him about that, but we absolutely wish him well. He did a very good job when he was at the White House.”

In interviews with The Washington Post and other media outlets, Porter’s ex-wives have accused him of physically and emotionally abusing them during their marriages. Both said that they informed the FBI in January 2017 of their allegations while they were being interviewed by agents as part of Porter’s security clearance review.

Porter’s first wife, Colbie Holderness, has accused him of throwing her down and punching her in the face during a trip to Florence in 2005 and provided photos showing her with a black eye. Porter’s second wife, Jennie Willoughby, received a temporary emergency protective order in Arlington, Va., in June 2010 after saying Porter refused to leave her residence, in violation of their separation agreement. She said he broke her window, causing his knuckles to bleed. Porter has denied these accusations and disputed Holderness’s account of how she received a black eye.

“These outrageous allegations are simply false,” Porter said in a statement. “I have been transparent and truthful about these vile claims, but I will not further engage publicly with a coordinated smear campaign.”

Trump’s comments on Friday echo the strong support Porter received from the White House this week. When the allegations were first reported by the DailyMail.com on Tuesday, Chief of Staff John F. Kelly came to Porter’s defense and called the allegations “slanderous and simply false.”

“Rob Porter is a man of true integrity and honor, and I can’t say enough good things about him,” Kelly said in a statement at the time. “He is a friend, a confidant and a trusted professional. I am proud to serve alongside him.”

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Kelly urged Porter to stay in his job, even after photos became public on Wednesday showing his first wife’s blackened eye. On Wednesday night, after Porter had resigned, Kelly issued a statement condemning Porter’s alleged abuses and stated that “there is no place for domestic violence in our society.”

This is not the first time that the president has continued to embrace men close to him who have been accused of assault. In July 2016, Trump called his longtime friend Roger Ailes — who had just been ousted from Fox News amid accusations that he sexually harassed at least two-dozen women — “a very, very good person” and cast suspicion on the accusers. In April last year, Trump said that Bill O’Reilly — who, it had recently been revealed, paid millions of dollars in settlements to five women who had accused him of sexual or verbal abuse — “a good person” who should not have settled, because “I don’t think Bill did anything wrong.” Late last year, Trump continued to support Alabama Senate candidate Roy Moore — who was accused of sexual misconduct with teenagers — and noted that Moore “totally denies it.”

And Trump himself has been accused of abuse by 13 women who have publicly claimed that Trump touched or kissed them without their permission. Trump has denied all of these accusations and cast all of his accusers as liars. In a 2005 “Access Hollywood” interview caught on a hot microphone, Trump bragged in vulgar terms about kissing, groping and trying to have sex with women, saying that “when you’re a star, they let you do it.”

 

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